Most Russians will not live to new pension age proposed by Kremlin

The pension reform proposed by the Russian government will leave most of the male population without a pension in every fourth Russian region.

This conclusion was reached by Yakov Mirkin, head of international capital markets at IMEMO RAN (Institute of World Economy and International Relations), based on data from Russia’s State Statistics Service (Rosstat).

The government is proposing to raise the retirement age for men from 60 to 65 by 2028. This is close to the average life expectancy for males in the country, which was 66.5 in 2016 according to Rosstat.
In 21 of the 85 Russian federal subjects, the majority of men will not reach 65 years of age.

The average life expectancy for males is 59.1 in the Republic of Tyva, 59.7 in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, 60 in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, 62.2 in the Irkutsk Oblast, and 62.7 in the Kemerovo and Amur oblasts.
Men also live less than 65 years on average in the Novgorod Oblast (62.9), the Zabaykalsky Krai (63), the Sakhalin Oblast (63.1), the Kurgan Oblast (63.3), the Pskov and Tver oblasts, Khabarovsk and Kamchatka Krais, the Komi Republic, the Magadan Oblast, the republics of Karelia and Khakassia, the Sverdlovsk Oblast, the Perm Krai and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Another 19 Russian regions are on the borderline, with an average life expectancy between 64.2 and 65.1 years: the Vologda, Smolensk, Vladimir and Chelyabinsk oblasts, the Krasnoyarsk and Primorsky Krais, the republics of Buryatia, Udmurtia and Mari El, the Nizhegorod, Tula, Ryazan, Bryansk, Ivanovsk, Arkhangelsk and Orenburg oblasts, the Altai Republic, Altai Krai, and the Omsk oblast.

The Kremlin is concerned that on a regional level, the raising of the pension age will cause protests and a distancing from the unpopular measures. President Vladimir Putin has nothing to do with the discussion of the pension age, and thus consulting him on this topic would be premature, Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. In a broadcast of Direct Line in 2005, Putin promised not to raise the pension age while he holds office. However, “it is important to understand that that was 13 years ago,” Peskov said on Friday, adding that there have been economic and demographic changes in the country since then.

There are now too many pensioners: the number of retired persons has grown by more than 7 million in the last 11 years, said Alexei Vovchenko, First Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security, on Friday.

“Even if you take Rosstat’s moderate option, an increase of… another 6.5 million people or even more is expected,” he said, adding that the working population has decreased by 7 million people and will still decrease by another 4 million.

Raising the retirement age will help to keep the number of new pensioners at 5.4 million: under the current system there would be 40.1 million pensioners by 2024, but with the reform, there would be only 34.7 million, analysts from Raiffeisen Bank estimate.

Last week, the Presidential Administration held a two-day seminar with the deputy governors, who were instructed not to allow mass dissatisfaction, officials told Vedomosti.
The United Russia party plans to explain the nature of the reform “on the ground” in order to prevent protests, a source close to the party leadership reported.

  Russia, pension